Ten months ago my husband died and so I write a lot about the grieving process. On the day he died I was forced to begin life as a widow. And my children were forced to begin life without a living father. And many of my posts involve those two new roles; that of a widow and that of fatherless children. But on February 14th, I also became an only parent and that is what this blog post is about.
Many people have commented to me how great of a job I am doing raising my children on my own. I homeschool them. On the weekends we go to the zoo, museums or park. We have game nights. I let them cuddle next to me in bed at night when I would prefer to have the bed to myself. We bake cookies and watch movies. Their clothes match when we leave the house. I don't forget to feed them. They typically have a smile on their face.
I don't know if I make being an only parent seem easy. I don't know if the pictures I post on social media make it seem as though the transition from co-parent to only parent is not much work. But can I be transparent? Being an only parent is hard. There is no other way to describe it. Well wait, there are other ways. It is exhausting. It is overwhelming. It at times is isolating. The role of an only parent is by far the hardest role I have ever had. I know in so many ways I am blessed. I work from home. I am able to homeschool my children. I don't worry about how I am going to pay my bills. But life is exhausting.
I was blessed with an amazing husband and we both worked full time so when it came to all of the household duties and responsibilities my husband truly did understand that parenting and adulting involved both he and I. Since he died, everything falls on my shoulders now. From the time I wake up until the time I collapse on the bed at night, I am pulled in so many different directions. There are no time-outs. And that is hard.
There are times when it is 5 in the evening and I am wishing it were 8 so I could make my children go to sleep because I am so tired.
I used to cook every night, but there are multiple times during the week that we eat take out because after working, homeschooling and cleaning I am too tired to cook.
There are no sharing of household responsibilities. The laundry doesn't fold itself. The dishes don't put themselves away. The bathrooms don't scrub their own toilets and showers. What used to be shared between a husband and wife is left for me to do.
There is no more consulting with my spouse about life decisions.
When something breaks or goes wrong, it is up to me to figure out what to do.
When the battery on the car stops working, it is up to me to get it fixed.
When the dryer stops working, it is up to me to figure out what is wrong.
The responsibility of parenting used to fall on 4 shoulders, now it falls on two.
I am the sole referree when a 5 year old and 7 year old are fighting.
I am the answerer of all questions during our car rides anywhere.
I am the comforter after they have a bad dream.
I am the doctor when they aren't feeling well.
And I am not complaining because I know how truly blessed I am.
But I am explaining....
What life is like as an only parent....